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elastigirl

Cheap outsourced VA businesses

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Marge's point about the currency differences is something we really need to remember. Most of the time, US currency is at or close to the top of the list. That doesn't make it the norm. But, maybe the situation wouldn't seem so outrageous if someone said "I charge XX which is ZZ currency. that will most likely translate to something different when compared to your currency."

 

Then, there's economics. Suppose it take 1000 of XX to equal what 2$$ will do? Too complicated. I'm back to being a virtual professional. The tasks need to be done. If someone can't afford me, they aren't obligated to hire me. The only thing that hurts me is when I do work and the client doesn't pay. Clients should be and are free to seek what their budget will permit. Or what their profit intentions will permit. And what their qualifications call for.

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This is a great topic of discussion. However, there are "on-shore" VA's that still have no clue. I'm not meaning to bash anyone here at all because I know everyone tries their hardest to do the best job they can. I have a client (appropriated from Craigslist) that hired a VA to develop three forms. The person that was hired took over a month to create just one form in some complicated program, and 1) it wasn't even branded to the client and 2) there were so many spelling errors it was ridiculously unprofessional.

 

The client contacted me almost four months after I had initially emailed him regarding his needs. He sent me the forms his previous VA had created. We exchanged emails and phone calls to determine exactly what the project would entail. I re-created the three original forms and provided him with a 24-hour turnaround. He was so pleased, he actually paid me a bonus on top of the invoice amount!

 

At any rate, he is still gathering more projects for me to do and is also in the process of writing a testimonial for me to post on my website.

 

Customer service is extremely important. There's no getting around that. If you provide quality service to your customers, then they will not only be loyal, they will refer you to their peers.

 

Caterpillar has a good program - they put all of their employees and their dealership employees through a 2-day customer satisfaction training course that covers how and how not to treat customers (internal and external). This is one of Caterpillar's core values. It's also one of my core values.

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Hello Guys,

 

This is a very sensitive topic I guess but I will join in. :) Like Marge, I am also from the Philippines and in the VA biz for almost 4 years. I am somehow also hurt esp evertime I come across a negative article about offshore VA's but I also understand your point.

 

When I was starting out there were only a few of us here in the Philippines but now it seems that the numbers has already doubled. I must admit that there are still a lot of VA's (both onshore and offshore) who hop in the industry without proper training or even doing some skills training prior. They are blinded by the fact that they can work at home (and for us here in the Philippines earning $$ at home is very much similar to working overseas)and they thought it's THAT easy. These unskilled VA's may actually have contributed to the negative image that we offshore VAs have. But I guess in reality all of us had our fair share of mistakes, errors and negative feedback from clients while we were starting out right?

 

I used to have a Multi-VA biz and yes I will admit that I was somehow similar to the VA companies you mentioned earlier. I hired other people, trained them but the quality was never the same thus hurting me and my business. 3 years later I am back to solo practice but this time better, carrying with me the learnings from all the mistakes I have made. One factor to this is that here in the Philippines, there is no VA association as of yet that would help out VA's to train and develop their skills compared to you guys who are based in the US or UK. You can get the support you need from fellow local VAs and you have events and summits, workshops that you can attend to but here its very very limited (I honestly just heard one workshop about VAs here).

 

Another factor why some of the offshore VA's fail is because, more often VA's (here) perceive themselves as employees rather than entrepreneurs thus leaving all the core responsibilities to their clients. Some of us are guilty of thinking that we can easily get clients because of our low rates (which is exactly the opposite).

 

If only theres an association of VAs here, perhaps we could educate them the value of providing quality service and not just focus on quantity.

 

And perhaps there will be away for both onshore and offshore VAs to meet halfway instead of pulling each other down. I am sure there is a way for us to work harmoniously together right?

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I have a question for Ella and Marge, who are working in the Philippines. Both of you are quite articulate and strong in English? Is English the base language for most other VAs in the Philippines?

 

I ask because Ella mentioned the lack of groups to train or encourage. I know there is much value in face-to-face, but there are many learning possibilities on VANetworking to train VAs -- the regular seminars are recorded so they can be viewed in any time zone, for example. But, I'm not sure they are translated into other languages.

 

I will appreciate your enlightenment.

 

 

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Why not start an association? If you look at other associations, you can see what they have to offer. Download the VAnetworking toolbar and take a look at the various global VA organizations. With the way you two think and communicate, I really think you two could do it.

 

Just a thought. ;)

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English is actually our second language. It is taught in school as early as pre-school until college so I think all educated Filipinos know how to converse in English. However, the level of education and communication skills still depends on each individuals education background, skills and knowledge. Some Filipinos may have poor grammar and communication skills due to the quality of education that they got from school.

 

I was blessed to grow up in Manila and graduate from a decent school, plus I must give credit to my previous work experience in the Call Center Industry for 3 years that gave me the proper training to communicate well with offshore clients.

 

I have always used VAnetworking for trainings and made sure I attend or get the free trainings and webinars. However, I'm not really sure with translating the materials. I think it would still be best if the materials remain in English context since as VA's we are handling clients from all over the world.

 

Im really open in putting up and starting an association for the VA's and will be happy to work with Marge. Any suggestions on how to start this out?

 

 

 

 

I have a question for Ella and Marge, who are working in the Philippines. Both of you are quite articulate and strong in English? Is English the base language for most other VAs in the Philippines?

 

I ask because Ella mentioned the lack of groups to train or encourage. I know there is much value in face-to-face, but there are many learning possibilities on VANetworking to train VAs -- the regular seminars are recorded so they can be viewed in any time zone, for example. But, I'm not sure they are translated into other languages.

 

I will appreciate your enlightenment.

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You know what, it really doesn't matter whether you're an offshore VA or not - the mistake there is that the VA is too eager to get a client without even thinking if she/he can really provide those things that the client asked. If you're offering a VA service, make sure that you are not over promising your client - just be realistic. Make sure that when you say "yes" to your client's request, you can really deliver it CORRECTLY and ON TIME. Don't say yes if you are not sure and the request is not applicable to where you are located. Any VA can make this kind of mistake if they are only focused on how much sales they can get. Remember being a VA is not just doing what the client asked you to do but taking care of your client as well.

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VAs" does seem to typify low-cost, non-skilled assistants - possibly but not always in a company-type arrangement. However there are lots of good local businesses that offers Virtual Assistance to the clients.

Edited by abegail05

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Personally, India has quite a fair labor pool but I would think twice of outsourcing VA work from China. Here are my reasons:

1. English language is not a "native" language in China. By native I mean it's not even a second language as opposed to countries like India and the Philippines, where English comes as a natural second language in which children from those countries already learn as they grow up both at home and schools (add to that the fact that Philippines and India were colonized by the US and Britain, respectively, and the Philippines have a very Americanized culture.) I would also like to point out that most chinese who speak english are taught by Filipinos and it's a fact and even if they learn to speak the language, more often than not they will have a very heavy accent.

2. The Chinese govt is always in control and have their eyes on everything. If you read or watch news, you should have a good understanding of this. So whatever trade secret you have in your business will likely be compromised because all users in China are constantly monitored.

I'm not being biased here, just merely stating these simple things if you consider quality and security as important factors to your business.

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Personally, India has quite a fair labor pool but I would think twice of outsourcing VA work from China. Here are my reasons:

 

1. English language is not a "native" language in China. By native I mean it's not even a second language as opposed to countries like India and the Philippines, where English comes as a natural second language in which children from those countries already learn as they grow up both at home and schools (add to that the fact that Philippines and India were colonized by the US and Britain, respectively, and the Philippines have a very Americanized culture.) I would also like to point out that most chinese who speak english are taught by Filipinos and it's a fact and even if they learn to speak the language, more often than not they will have a very heavy accent.

 

2. The Chinese govt is always in control and have their eyes on everything. If you read or watch news, you should have a good understanding of this. So whatever trade secret you have in your business will likely be compromised because all users in China are constantly monitored.

 

I'm not being biased here, just merely stating these simple things if you consider quality and security as important factors to your business.

 

Some awesome points made, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us :)

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On 3/22/2016 at 1:00 AM, paulew said:

Personally, India has quite a fair labor pool but I would think twice of outsourcing VA work from China. Here are my reasons:

1. English language is not a "native" language in China. By native I mean it's not even a second language as opposed to countries like India and the Philippines, where English comes as a natural second language in which children from those countries already learn as they grow up both at home and schools (add to that the fact that Philippines and India were colonized by the US and Britain, respectively, and the Philippines have a very Americanized culture.) I would also like to point out that most chinese who speak english are taught by Filipinos and it's a fact and even if they learn to speak the language, more often than not they will have a very heavy accent.

2. The Chinese govt is always in control and have their eyes on everything. If you read or watch news, you should have a good understanding of this. So whatever trade secret you have in your business will likely be compromised because all users in China are constantly monitored.

I'm not being biased here, just merely stating these simple things if you consider quality and security as important factors to your business.

Hahaha, I know this is an old thread about 2 years and a bit.  I'm Malaysian born, grew up in the UK but currently in China.  I have no idea there are VAs in China. Good luck if anyone thinking about employing any of them for telecentres as their innate understanding about foreign cultures is a bit hit and miss. I am not denigrating them but just giving my two pennies worth. Personally, I have over 20 years experience in General, Financial and Legal administration. I am new at this VA lark but determined to make a go at it.

 

Hello to everyone by the way.  

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